COURT action has pulled the plug on a bar’s sound system after its landlord failed to cover the cost of a music licence.
The case was brought against Richard Lakey after checks found copyrighted tracks being played at the Victoria in Church Street, Murton, despite not having a licence from music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance (PPL).
Mr Justice Warren, sitting at London’s High Court, imposed a ban on playing music at the Victoria, also known as the High House, and ordered £1,715 in legal costs are paid within 14 days.
If he does not comply, Lakey – who was not represented at the hearing – could face jail.
Failure to obey the order and turn any premises he runs into a music-free zone, until all licence fees are brought up to date, would be regarded as contempt of court.
Penalties include fines of up to £10,000 and up to six months in prison.
The court heard Lakey was caught after a PPL inspector visited the pub in June, when no licence was in force.
He heard tracks including Feel So Close by Calvin Harris, The A Team by Ed Sheeran, Charlie Brown by Coldplay, Hush Little Baby by Wretch 32 featuring Ed Sheeran, and Level Up by Sway.
PPL’s counsel Fiona Clark said the organisation had received a number of post-dated cheques to cover the licence fee, but only one cleared, leaving Lakey’s licensing position unresolved.
PPL spokeswoman Clare Goldie said: “Public performance licences are issued to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations from all sectors across the UK, who play recorded music to their staff or customers and who therefore require a licence by law.
“These can range from bars, nightclubs, shops and hotels to offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and local authorities.
“After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all revenue collected is distributed to members.
“PPL does not retain a profit for its services.
“With over 6,500 members who are record companies or other recorded music rights holders and 50,000 performer members, PPL has a large and diverse membership.
“Members include major record labels and globally successful performers, as well as many independent labels, sole traders and session musicians ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers – all of whom are entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances.”